50 thoughts on “Our Daily Thread 10-29-18

  1. What’s that lurking in the swamp? I see the critters, but they blend in so well that it is anyone’s guess how many there are.
    We are studying butterflies this week. I had such fun making a quick powerpoint of some of Cheryl’s photos to share with the class. They were impressed.
    next I will share her book.
    What a resource this blog is!

    Liked by 5 people

  2. I count seven, but one is just a second pair of eyes right below the one in the upper right. And I’m sure others lurk unseen.

    What would be interesting to know is how many species are represented here.

    This is a small pond of the sort herons don’t like–it’s simply too exposed. Houses on one side, a bike/pedestrian path on the other, only very low vegetation beside it. I’ve seen mallards on it a few times, and even they fly off it if they are sure they are spotted, and mallards are much more accepting of the presence of people than herons are.

    In other words, it’s a wonderful place for frogs to frolic and reproduce. And on that particular morning the frogs were out all over it. I took multiple photos and counted the population in each; this is the one where I found the most, so it’s the one I submitted.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s a froggy morning! My phone wanted that to be a foggy morning, of course.

    We are suppose to see Art’s surgeon today for our first visit. I read some reviews to have an idea of what to expect.

    I applied online for Medicare. We shall see how that works out. My good friend in CA already got her card. I hope I will be quickly blessed as she was, but I make no plans to be.

    I hope all Wanderers have a great Monday!!! And that includes me.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Photo looks like a Monet painting.

    Interesting discussion of phonics. I had teachers tell me they were told not to use phonics. This was back in the 70’s. Such a thing seems to cycle through over and over again.

    I never taught for first born to read, but she learned by my reading books to her. (She does have a high IQ) One of the books she liked was Dr. Seuss’ ABC. That book uses the sounds and shows both the upper case and lower case letters.

    The kindergarten teacher had a book with the word beginning on it and my daughter noticed it and read the word out loud. She ended up reading a grade ahead. They wanted to promote her a grade, but by the time they wanted to do that, I refused. The teacher was terrible and late let go. She went through a couple of different schools and lots of students before retiring. It was a few years later that I heard some horror stories and was so glad I went with my gut. My daughter did go to reading in her class, but I am sure I spared her some real trouble.

    Phonics is a no brainer to me. However, teachers have to keep trying many methods so that different types of learners will learn. Rote learning is also important. I find it is used way too little for my grandchildren and it does stunt them. So does not learning cursive. I have a grandson I have to type out letters for or print them (something I detest). He is also very intelligent, so it should not be necessary.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. A person has to have an evil spirit to make him shoot up a church or synagogue.
    I mean: Not just a bad man with good sense. A sane person would not do something like that, no matter how evil his intent. He knows the payoff is negative. No matter how I think no good will come of this. It has to be an evil spirit.
    A person who does should be tried.
    A fair trial. If found guilty, executed.
    Not next year.
    Not next week.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. I didn’t join the discussion about phonics vs. “Look and say” reading.
    But. I think I told you this before.
    I failed first grade.
    I couldn’t read. But next year I taught myself to “sound out the spelling”. i.e. I taught myself phonics and have been reading ever sense. (or since?)
    Sounding out doesn’t help my spelling at all.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. My mom started me out early on phonics.

    Well, let’s see if a painter is coming today. Never much before noon if they do. My neighbors on the south left about 2 weeks ago for a stay at their fixer-upper, still in process, in the desert. They’re due back today. I know she’ll let out a groan when she sees my house still isn’t finished.

    Painting was supposed to be the easy part at the tail end of all the harder work. Instead, it’s turned into just another really endless, often disruptive process. The payoff, though, is that the house really does look nice from the outside now.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I like the definition False Evidence Appearing Real”
    Fear of being on a bridge during an earthquake is that. I have never heard of anyone dying from being on a bridge during an earthquake.
    But in Charleston, there is the “Cooper River Bridge” (not it’s name, it’s “Grace”……something.)
    Cars have been driving across that bridge when ships have run into it and broke the bridge and cars plunged into the Cooper River. The occupants drowned. This has happened a couple of times.
    Charleston has replaced that bridge. But it was a marvel in it’s day. (circa 1930)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What weekend: An 18 inning World Series game, and another Boston World Series title. Poor Yankees fans. What’s it been, since 2009 for their last (27th) win? I would say the Dodgers deserve a win before the Yanks. Or even the Indians who’ve never won it all, have they?

    Any way, it was an interesting weekend in college football. Find out who our winner was.


  10. Here’s a good article I read last week before we started this discussion on phonics:


    There is a widely held belief in this country (and many others) that if we start teaching children to read, write, and spell in preschool and kindergarten that they will be ahead of the game (and their peers) by first grade. We think that pushing our kids to start early will make them better and give them the edge.

    But it doesn’t work that way, in fact it can be detrimental.

    Here’s why…

    Children’s neurological pathways for reading, writing, and spelling are not formed yet at these young ages, therefore they are not equipped. In child development you can not miss, shortcut, or rush steps, it just doesn’t work.

    Between 3 and 7 years old, predominantly the right side of the brain is developing. The right side of the brain is not where word reading takes place. The right side sees pictures and shapes and uses mental imagery to create the movie in their mind to understand the story. The left side of the brain is where we read words, it is responsible for decoding words into letters and phonetically sounding them out. This is true word reading. It is not until about age 7 that the corpus callosum fully connects the left and right hemispheres of the brain to make reading complete for kids.

    By making children read when they really only have access to the right side of their brain, they are forced to memorize what words look like by shape and guess, opposed to being able to sound them out. Not true reading. Also, when kids are focused on memorizing what the words look like by shape, they are not using their right brain to create the movie in their mind, leading to low comprehension.

    The article is short, and worth reading, for those interested.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. And this is the article within which I found the above link:


    The writer of this post has many EXCELLENT ideas in applying the principles listed in my previous link.

    I have written a lot on the importance of free play (and outside play, especially) for little kids, and less formal learning of things that don’t matter to them yet- abcs, how to hold a pencil, and so on.

    They are building an important framework for later conceptual understanding. The kid who understands the scientific concept of erosion best at 10 is the kid who at four was building sand castles and watching the waves knock them down, who was making holes in the yard while playing with the hose, who was digging out streams and making dams on stream banks and again with the hose in the backyard. The kid who has the deepest conceptual understanding of geography later is the kid who from 1-6 was outside in the mud creating mini-geographical worlds- lakes, islands, inlets, peninsulas, streams, rivers, seas- who was digging out cities and villages in the sandbox or the driveway. The kid with the strongest working concepts of pulleys and levers and friction is the kid who spent his preschool years not doing worksheets, but instead was actually discovering friction by pushing wheeled and nonwheeled toys on sidewalks, grassy yards, gravel drives, carpet, tile floors, who learned about levers by playing on see-saws and using sticks to pry rocks out of the dirt and flip them over to look for bugs, who figured out how to lift objects (or siblings) by tossing a rope over a tree branch and so on. […]

    It is more than a bit of a hobby horse of mine, and it really frustrates me and breaks my heart for the kids who are being given stones for bread. This kind of free play, including the risks of bumps, scrapes, bruises, falls and scraped knees, is their birthright. It can’t be replaced. If you don’t learn the alphabet at 2, it won’t make a lick of difference if you learn it at six or eight. You will have lost nothing. If you don’t get plenty of free time, making messes, getting dirty, experimenting with the real world, singing the songs of childhood, listening to oral stories (this builds the child’s ability to picture things in his mind based on words, which is vitally important for real progress in understanding reading later), etc, before 6, you’ve lost a lot of the important opportunities to build that foundation.

    We’re trying to build walls and put in the carpeting without taking the time to build the foundation, floors, and framework. We’re all about instant food for the mind, pellets of factoids that kids just recite without knowing what they are talking about, instead of nourishing food for the brain, which requires slow steeping, marinating, simmering, time to digest, and more.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I don’t know about that. Son makes all sorts of noises when he reads and I am sure he is not understanding the story at all, including skipping large portions. But then he can tell the story back to me almost word by word. It is astonishing. He laughs at the funny parts, and enjoys retelling them.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. BTW, there are a whole bunch more ideas in the post linked at 12:42, in list form. A few examples:

    LOTS of free play outside and the freedom to get absolutely covered in dirt and mud from head to toe. Running, jumping, climbing, rolling, skipping, kicking, hopping, crawing, swimming, splashing, marching,

    LOTS of oral story telling- Bible stories, basic folk tales, fairy tales, and fables. Stories of when Mom and Dad or Grandparents were little.

    Mother Goose-

    Singing- hymns and folk songs. Pop songs not so much. Singing- not listening, not watching, but singing. You can sit down for five or ten minutes a day when everybody is tired or grouchy and sing.You can also sing while working, playing, washing dishes, digging holes, driving places. […]

    Trips to the grocery store, the park, the pond, church, the departmeent store, to the courthouse to pay taxes to the bank to make deposits, to the DMV to renew a license and to the library, talking about where you’re going, what the people who work there do and why, and how to behave in public. At the grocery store, helping to fill the bags of fruits and vegetables, counting apples, finding red things, yellow things, looking for the letter c, weighing the carrots.

    This all makes me miss the wonder of having preschoolers and kindergarteners in the house. Though a lot of this can be done with older kids, too.

    There’s just nothing like having four- and five-year-olds around again. I miss that age.

    Hopefully there will be grandchildren in my future…

    Liked by 3 people

  14. 6 Arrows, I have heard all that, about how early academics is actually harmful. Boys especially need the free play and don’t need to be pushed academically. However, reading to kids is good, and I know people who taught themselves to read as young as three. For some children, it will quite naturally come early. I don’t remember learning to read and asked my mom if maybe I read super early. She said no, kindergarten. (With a late June birthday, I was always one of the youngest in my class, though. And my younger sister and brother–with October and August birthdays–were even younger. My mom didn’t send my brother to kindergarten, just to first grade. But he was barely six and not ready academically, and he soon fell well behind his class because he didn’t learn to read.)

    My older brothers all skipped a grade, so I think she was going by that and not wanting to hold any of us back. For me it worked–I really wished I could skip a grade. But since my sister was only a bit more than a year younger than me, I think Mom thought it would be easiest to just have us one grade apart, and my brother (less than 38 months younger than me) should then be two grades behind. But mid-October is a really late birthday to be in this year’s class, and mid-August is late for a boy. And besides, my sister never had the rush to grow up that I did. So I think they would have both done better if she had let us each be two years apart academically, waiting another year for each of them.

    I suspect that having older parents affected the issue. First, they had already been raising children a long time (youngest is 17 years and a month younger than oldest). But second, Dad retired the same spring my sister graduated eighth grade and my brother finished six, and then we moved. I think another year of academics probably just looked too far in the future. As it was, Dad died a few days before my younger brother graduated from eighth grade–he didn’t live to see us finish school as it was.


  15. I learned to read by being taught sight words in the first grade. I entered first grade as a five-year-old who was younger than classmates since the cut-off was Dec. 31 back then. We did not do phonics. I did little phonics with son because it became obvious early on that he was learning by sight words. There are definite disadvantages to learning only by sight, but if someone is good at that, it makes for quick learning to read. I think the first word I remember son learning that he read to me was Park from a billboard for some apartments. We had been visiting county parks frequently back then so I think he knew the word from there. He had been “reading” auto tags, letters and numbers, from a young age.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. 6 Arrows, that is what they miss when they talk about giving “disadvantaged” children an advantage by starting them in early preschool. It isn’t academics they are missing! It’s having someone to read to them and interact in daily life. It has been shown that a mother’s vocabulary has a big correlation to her children’s level of academic success. Well, you take a nearly illiterate mother, put children in bunches in daycare with “teachers” who don’t care about them, and send them home to a poor diet and little adult interaction . . . and you aren’t going to have good results.

    Having government replace parents even more isn’t going to solve the problem, though!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. I am looking forward to hearing from the public school this week. They are coming up with a plan to get son to do some homework. I let them know he is available every morning before school (he left this morning at six twenty which should have put him in town no later than six forty) and he has only school activities and video games to occupy him from the end of school at three to his return home at eight thirty. They will have plenty of time to work with.


  18. Afternoon! It is a lovely day here in the forest..70 degrees and tomorrow we get 5-8 inches of snow! The builders are banging away on my neighbor’s house under construction…I think they want to “make hay while the sun is shining”!
    I taught all of my kiddos to read phonetically using ABC books and a primer from the 1800’s. Second child was taken on as a challenge by her 1st grade teacher to “unlearn” phonics which didn’t make me a very happy mama….at age 40 daughter has taken a liking to reading recently. She said she finds it relaxing….yay! Third child’s kindergarten teacher scolded me for teaching my 5 year old to read before attending school…. 🙃
    Now I need to go up there and find some frogs….didn’t see any but ya’ll said there were some up there…. 🐸


  19. I don’t remember learning to read, but I remember being chosen in 2nd grade to read “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” at our one-room-school’s Christmas program. The school had grades 1-6 (plus kindergarteners, but only for the last two weeks of the school year), but maybe that reading was just a “second-grade thing,” and not a “pick the reader from the whole school” thing. The whole school being about 25 kids. 🙂

    I’ve never had difficulty pronouncing a word I’ve never seen before, but reading comprehension hasn’t been as easy for me as sounding out words. It bothers me that sometimes I just can’t figure out the main point behind what I read. I feel really dumb when that happens; no amount of being able to rattle off words correctly and efficiently keeps me from feeling less dumb when I just don’t get what someone else is saying. 😦


  20. For those having trouble finding the frogs, all but one are in the right half of the photo. The biggest one is almost exactly halfway down, almost all the way to the edge of the picture. If you can find that one, now go straight up almost to the very top of the photo, and there you will see another frog–and, if you look really closely, a second one in front of it (the second one is just a pair of eyes).

    Mostly the trick to finding frogs in a pond is looking for eyes. In this case, two of the frogs don’t have prominent eyes, and so they are harder to see. The frogs that can be spotted by big eyes are all near the outside edge, the other two closer to the middle. One of those is about two frog lengths in front of the biggest frog, and the other is quite a bit below that one, only a little more to the left.


  21. I do teach my students to read, but I also know when they have had enough and give them time for free play. That freedom is important. Of course the boys always choose the same building centre. Time to get ready for another day.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. I just remember being totally bored out of my mind while waiting for the teacher to teach me to read. This was back in the fifties, so everything was taught later. I couldn’t wait to get to books with actual words. I was bored stiff with the Dick and Jane books, too. Even now when I see quilt fabric with those images, I cannot imagine buying it. So, totally boring, IMO.

    Yes, I was told I should not teach my daughter to read early, too. I didn’t, but just the reading did it for her. Children are all so different. That is the problem for classrooms full of children. There are children so eager to learn and those who need more time and it may have little to do with chronological age. It is one of the strengths of homeschooling. If you are wise you can catch the right time to teach various things. A teacher of many students has a difficult time doing that with each child and subject.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. One of my frustrations in teaching is when I try to tell parents that their child is too young, especially boys. They may be quite smart, but they are not ready.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. They all are unique but we seem to have this competitive streak, so we don’t listen if the teacher wants to move them along or keep them back. I am told they can no longer do that very much, hold a child back. They need to stay with their peers. Since they differ developmentally, it makes it challenging for the teachers.


  25. Definitely there’s variation in the ages when kids learn to read, and, Kathaleena, you’re right, homeschooling is an advantage because it’s easier to detect reading readiness signs. With my own kids, four of them learned to read at ages 4/5, one at 6, and one at 7. I didn’t start trying to teach them to read at any one particular age. I was glad to have that flexibility and consider each child’s unique characteristics.

    One of the problems with introducing reading (or other academics) before they’re ready is that it can unfortunately convince a child that s/he’ll never get it, or at least never have an easy time of it. The negative thinking pattern can, IMO, be the worst impediment to growth. Even after developmental milestones have been reached that could have assured success, some kids continue to struggle mightily. If only instruction for every child could be delayed to a time when they can experience modest success from the outset, rather than repeated failure from the get-go.

    That’s what’s happening with so many kids (many boys) who are in fifth, six, seventh and later grades. One string of academic failure after another, year after year, and they’ve given up trying.

    A sad situation without easy solutions.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Kathaleena: There are children so eager to learn…

    A retired kindergarten teacher I knew, when I asked her the difference she saw between kids entering kindergarten with or without previous classroom experience in preschool, remarked that while the kindergarteners with no prior classroom experience were a little more shy for the first week or two, they were much more likely, once past the initial hump, to be excited about learning.

    The kids who had attended formal preschool were already showing signs of boredom with the whole idea of being in a classroom.

    As a young mom at the time, thinking that classroom preschool would be a great thing, I was surprised. I’m glad that she shared her observations with me.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Chas, people do die driving over bridges that have fallen during an earthquake. In the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, a woman died after a section of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge collapsed.

    Then there were all the people who were crushed when the upper deck of a two-level freeway fell onto the lower deck in that same earthquake.

    In the 1994 Northridge earthquake (Los Angeles area) a motorcycle police officer drove off a bridge that had just collapsed. At 4:30 in the morning it was too dark for him to see far enough ahead to know the bridge was damaged.

    The chances of that happening to a given person are so low it’s not worth worrying about. But if you live in earthquake country you think about it. At least I did. I still do when I’m visiting LA and stuck in traffic crawling over a long high bridge in a freeway interchange.


  28. I did use the picture book with son that was titled something like The ABCs of Monster Sounds which was phonics based on the letters. It was a really cute book, IMO. Did anyone else use it?


  29. My younger foster daughter had been in pre-K before she came into my home the first time. I put her sister in kindergarten but kept her home with me, and several times she expressed how much she liked school. I simply figured that soon enough she would be in school all day; there was little enough time for one-on-one time with a caring adult (something she probably had received little of). It would have been easier for me to take her and have those hours for myself, but that wasn’t why I was parenting. The second time they were with me, she was old enough for kindergarten and her sister for first grade . . . though her sister ended up being sent back to kindergarten, too, after a couple of weeks. She was the older one but very clearly not ready for school (developmental issues).


  30. It’s funny that I as the parent (along with my husband) based on my research chose to let son do kindergarten twice. This was totally against the advice given by preschool teachers and directors except for one director who agreed with me. That is where he did Kinder 2. Kinder 1 was 3 days a week. KInder 2 was 5 days a week and more structured. I would have listened to Jo’s advice. It is the whole child and not just their intellect that moves forward in school. Boys typically need more squirm time than they are allowed in strictly academic situations.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. I have experienced almost every natural phenomenon but an earthquake.
    I haven’t missed it, must be scary to feel the ground shaking.
    “Everfy phenomenon” the tornado I experienced was so far away, it likely doesn’t count.,


  32. I used to think phonics was the only way to go. It’s the way I learned, both my children did well with it, and it makes such sense to me. But I’ve softened on that as I’ve understood that some people are wired completely differently than I am.

    Homeschooling our two children worked well for reading because neither of them was “average”. We read a lot to both of them. KJ was eager to learn how it worked and was reading chapter books (The Wizard of Oz, for example) at age 5. Flyboy, on the other hand, enjoyed our reading to him but had little interest in learning how to do it himself until he was 8 or 9. I might have been worried about him, but we were reassured by the example of an impressively literate high schooler in our church whose mother told us he had not started reading until 8 or 9. Thanks to her advice we didn’t push Flyboy, and he eventually became a very capable reader.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Chas, I have experienced two mild earthquakes (nowhere near the epicenter). One was in Nashville, and I was lying in bed when things started to shake. It occurred to me that I really didn’t want my ceiling light / fan in bed with me, so I got up and moved to another room. Since neither one that I experienced was anything more than minor shaking, they were more interesting than scary. (The first one it took a few seconds to figure out what was happening.)

    Have you experienced a dust storm? I’ve been in quite a few. Also a blizzard, a lightning thunder storm (that one is weird), and of course hailstorms and rainstorms, including heavy enough rain for serious flooding and damage. I’ve heard a tornado and seen the damage from one, but have never seen one–and I’m quite OK with that.


  34. Janice, 6:56, I haven’t heard of that book.

    Janice, 7:04: Boys typically need more squirm time than they are allowed in strictly academic situations.

    That reminds me of the time when I was volunteering in our church school’s library. I was doing some work at the desk when a teacher came in with 1st Arrow (a first-grader at the time) and another boy the same age. The 7th-grade teacher graciously, at the request of the 1st-grade teacher, regularly took those two boys out of the 1st-grade classroom for reading enrichment, as they were reading at about a 4th-grade level at the time. (The 7th-grade teacher had time to work with them while his 7th-graders had Catechism class with the pastors.)

    Those boys could read (and comprehend) very well, but they could NOT sit still! It was funny to watch; they’d be half on, half off their chairs, arms/shoulders draped across the back, chairs twisting, about two chair legs of the four pointed sideways instead of making contact with the floor, bodies wriggling most of the time while they read out loud, never missing a beat. 😉

    And what a blessing that that teacher let them do their thing with the squirming. It didn’t hurt anyone, and it likely helped them. They could focus on the reading, and not have to concentrate on a list of what they “shouldn’t” be doing at the same time — moving, making noise, etc.

    That’s one of the beauties of small-group instruction; it would be hard for a number of kids to concentrate if half the class were flailing about. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  35. I experienced small dust storms in Texas and REAL dust storms in Saudi Arabia. In Arabia, they weren’t dust storms, they were sand storms. There is a difference.
    Hurricanes, in Charleston.
    Not really a blizzard because it wasn’t windy, but snow storms in Mass. and Greenland.
    The only time I felt the earth shake was in Carolina stadium when they beat Clemson.
    But Charleston has had earthquakes.


  36. 6 Arrows, the need of boys to move and the distractability of girls when boys do move so much is one reason I’m a strong proponent of single-sex classrooms. Any research I have ever seen shows both sexes do better in them, but they aren’t “popular” because adults don’t like the idea.


  37. Cheryl, yes, I agree. Segregating boys from girls has definite advantages.

    I heard in the last few years that some classrooms are adopting standing desks. I don’t know that that’s an idea that’s catching on in very many schools yet, but I wonder if those might be better for boys than seated desks. There wouldn’t be the issues of chairs becoming rocking chairs and floor-crashers. 😉


  38. Ah, my pretty mallard is up now. Same little pond as the frogs. He and his mate have been on it several times, and he has finally gotten used to my presence. Today I was beside it (photographing cedar waxwings, mostly) for probably half an hour, and he never did panic and take off. (Sometimes he’s panicked because of my presence, sometimes other people going by, but I’d never been there without them taking flight within a few minutes.)


  39. Very pretty duck picture.

    Yes, they do not want to fail anyone. They get further and further behind. It seems abusive to me. Better losing some face among peers than to always think you cannot read or do what else is necessary.


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